Crossover day came and went. It was our longest day of the year. We debated bills on the House Floor until around 9:30 PM.
We’re now on the down-hill slope. Not including veto-day, Session ends next Wednesday, March 13th.
I continue to receive hundreds of email each week. I don’t think there is anything more important in serving as a legislator than hearing from you, especially hearing how a bill personally affects you.
One example is the commercial hemp bill. You might have heard the governor opposes the bill. She doesn’t believe the state has the infrastructure in place yet to allow the process to move forward. Yet I voted to support the hemp bill, on large part due to the many email I received telling me why you support it.
As I write this, the fate of the hemp bill is still uncertain. It received overwhelming support in the House – enough to likely overcome the two-thirds majority needed to overcome a governor’s veto, but the support in the Senate is unknown and may not be enough should the governor opt to veto.
On other news, this past week we had Volga Christian School and Florence School students visit the Capitol. I enjoyed giving the Florence students a tour of the Capitol and spending time answering questions. Rep. Doug Post spent time with the Volga students. His son is a student at the school.
We also had student leaders from many SD Boys and Girls Club visit. The story of many of these children from moderate to low-income families is also my story, and I feel a special bond with them. It was my honor to serve many years on the Watertown Boys and Girls Club Board.
As I reflect on the Session, I have much to be grateful for. When I rise to speak on the House Floor, people listen, and I’ve been told I change minds. It is somewhat of an art to know how often and how long to speak. Speak too often or too long and people tune you out. Speak at the right time with few well-chosen words and maybe you can make an impact.
I am also grateful for the work I have been able to accomplish. All the bills I have been working on except one has been signed into law or is close to it. My civics literacy bill didn’t make it across the finish line.
I just received word that this week the governor will sign my adoption bill into law. The bill was the result of a local family contacting me to ask if I can help them adopt a young lady into their family. An old provision of law prevented them from completing the process. The entire family will be coming to Pierre to be part of the bill-signing ceremony. Of everything I’ve done this session, I’ll probably remember this one the best. It’s the most personal bill I sponsored, plus I think it best epitomizes the problem-solving work I believe legislators are called to do.
Two pro-life bills I’ve been working on behind the scenes are HB1193 and HB 1177. The first criminalizes the forcing of a pregnant mother to undergo an abortion against her will. It received unanimous approval in the House and Senate and is now waiting consideration from the governor.
The second is a heart-beat bill. It requires an abortionist to ask if the pregnant mother would like to listen to the heart beat of her baby. The bill passed the House and Senate Committee. It is now on the way to the full Senate.
That’s it for now. Please feel free to contact me at any time via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you make it to the Capitol, please look me up.
Life is good. Have a great week. – Fred